Police have named the a police officer who was killed during an attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday as Ahmed Merabet, 42, who happened to be patrolling the area at the time and is believed to be Muslim.
Mr Merabet is seen in footage released by Reuters begging the gunmen to spare his life in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, where the offices of the publication are situated, before he was shot more than once. The man is survived by his wife.
After being shot the first time, the gunmen wearing balaclavas and holding Kalashnikov rifles are seen running past the police officer – who had his hands up in surrender – and shot in his direction again at point-blank range as he was lying on the pavement outside the offices.
The masked gunmen is heard asking the police officer “Do you want to kill me?” before he allegedly replied “No, it is OK chief” before one of them shot him a second time round amid an attack described as the worst in France in 50 years.
Another officer, Franck Brinsolaro, was also shot dead by the three attackers suspected to be brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who are in their early 30s, and the third suspect - who reportedly turned himself in to the police last night after seeing himself mentioned in the news - was named as 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.
Mr Brinsolaro, who was the police bodyguard of Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier and was sitting in the editorial room when the gunmen shot the cartoonists and journalists dead, is survived by his wife and two children.
Police in France are on a manhunt for the brothers that are reported to be hiding out in a social housing estate in Reims, north-east of Paris, after the attack which caused the death of 10 journalists as well as the two police officers.
Cartoonists Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73, were killed in the attack as well as magazine columnist and economist Bernard Maris, 68, and proof-reader Mustapha Ourrad. Psychoanalyst and columnist Elsa Cayat was the only woman killed in the shoot-out. Arts festival founder Michel Renaud and caretaker Frederic Boisseau were also murdered.
According to witnesses, the gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”, before storming into the editorial meeting.
Cherif, 32, had been sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for helping to transport fighters for the alleged purposes of jihad from France to Iraq, for which he served 18 months, the Associated Press reported. He had said he was inspired to do so after witnessing images of CIA torture from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The offices of Charlie Hebdo had been firebombed in 2011 for a depiction of Prophet Mohamed on the front cover of the magazine which said “100 lashes of the whip if you don’t die laughing!” under a banner saying “Charia Hebdo” in reference to Sharia law.